How to Have a Voice During the Election
5 MIN READ
While Election Day may be on November 3, it’s unlikely that we’ll know who the president is as we sip our first cup of coffee the following morning as we have in years past. The Washington Post reports that mail in voting is likely to make up 50-70% of this year’s vote—at the very least double the mail in ballots from 2016. Because of different states’ regulations, ballots for many states, including battleground ones, are not allowed to be counted until the day of the election. All of this to say, it may be several weeks before we know who our next president is. Considering the volume of advocacy and debate taking place across social media already, it’s likely that platforms will be a cacophony of speculation, opinions, and fear mongering as we wait to hear who the president for the next four years will be.
With this increased volume of discourse on social, how can your brand make sure it’s heard among the broader conversations? Simply put, to make your brand’s voice heard during the election and its aftermath, you need to take a stand. While this may sound scary and divisive, we’ve put a guide together to make sure your voice reaches your followers despite the turmoil.
November 3 will likely be an exciting day on social. Many of us have been waiting for this election for four years, and you’ll likely see a wide variety of posts encouraging people to vote, sharing their hope, or showing off their voter pride. Here’s how to join the conversation.
Long lines and voter suppression are making voting challenging for the majority of people. Many are standing in line for several hours to vote early, which hints at what we can expect on Election Day. Ideally, Election Day would be a national holiday, but as that’s not currently the case, many companies are giving their employees paid time off to get to the polls. If you’re a business that has taken this step, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a little. Share on social that your team has off, why voting is important to your company, and encourage others to get out there and vote. While posting about this may not lead to huge change, it both shows where your priorities are as a company and can inspire other businesses to make similar choices in the future.
For many people, voting is exciting and only partially because getting a sticker as a reward is fun no matter if you’re 8 or 80. Show that you support voters and their voter pride by celebrating their participation. Many companies that sell products will offer freebies or discounts to people who show up with their “I Voted” sticker. Unfortunately, when you vote via mail-in ballot, stickers are few and far between. So instead of the usual voter sticker discount, offer a giveaway for anyone who shares their voter experience with you. Did they drop their ballot off early? How long did they wait in line? By encouraging this discussion, you’re not only bringing eyes to your channels, you’re also sharing important stories around how empowering voting can be and how voter suppression is running rampant in many parts of our country.
Counting the Votes
Expect Social Media to be Crowded
In response to pretty much every political or social event in 2020, we’ve seen an increase in ongoing conversations across social media. During this particular time, emotions will be high, making it likely that people across the nation will take to their social channels to express their feelings and are not looking to be marketed to. Allow them the space to share their thoughts and opinions without clogging up feeds with sales pitches that don’t add value.
Create an Action Plan
Because of this high volume of posting, it’s important to decide how you want to contribute to the discourse. What do you feel comfortable sharing on behalf of your brand? In response to COVID and social injustice, influencers and brands who are speaking out are seeing an increase in support, even gaining new followers who are inspired by those using their voices. The old belief that businesses and influencers should “stay in their lane” is out of fashion. You can sell products and show your support for BLM. You can not only keep followers but also gain them by posting that you’re supporting Biden and Harris. It no longer has to be either/or.
However, we acknowledge that it can be intimidating to take that first step, especially if you’re speaking out for the first time and feel like your stance may be seen as performative rather than authentic. Even if you don’t want to share a definitive opinion, post that you’re aware of the turmoil people are facing. Openness and honesty go a long way in not seeming complicit to the problems at hand. A simple “we’re listening and offering support” can put your brand on the right side of history—as long as you mean it.
Results Are In
No matter how the cookie crumbles, once a definitive answer has been reached, people across the world are going to react strongly. In a space without a middle ground, we need to accept that outrage is a given. Navigating it is the key to staying afloat.
Share Your Thoughts
Whether the outcome aligns with your brand’s candidate, make it clear to your followers how you’re feeling. Excitement or despair—this is a unique opportunity to connect with people who are going through the same struggle as you. Shying away, especially if you’ve been an active part of the conversation up until this point, will only come off as uncaring at best and performative at worst. Even a simple congratulations to the victor can show your audience where you stand.
Don’t Give Up The Fight
Even if your candidate wins the election, it’s not time to give up the good fight. Letting things remain status quo and not advocating for change is the reason we’ve arrived at a place that’s more bipartisan than ever before. We will need to continue to strive for more in the future. Continue to partner with BIPOC-run businesses. Amplify the voices of people working to create change. By using your platform to not only sell your brand but also to show what you’re passionate about, you create a true community—the heart of any successful social media account.
While the upcoming election might feel like preparing for battle, now is not the time for positive pleasantry and obliviousness. We’re all for optimism but not at the expense of important change and growth. Build your graphic templates, follow political influencers, and start shaping your role in the election. As always, we’re here to offer your brand support during these tumultuous times so feel free to reach out.